OPINION ~ Letter to the editor

August 15, 2020

The district announced postponing start dates for Fall 2020 based on Jackson County health officials declaring “significant community spread of COVID-19”. New season, same script.

I have questions. I pray BOE’s answers pursue what’s best for students. Reviewing BOE’s mission statements, the district goal is “To prepare each student for success in life.” Success begins at home with family support, supplemented with wholesome education. You cannot operate family or schools inconsistently. BOE shifting policy based on flimsy, wavering recommendations from Jackson County is absurd. BOE must be consistent, standing firm on decisions using accurate data.

What defines “significant” threshold levels?

Last spring, before COVID-19 data was available, politicians speculated fall lockdowns. That’s not science, it’s propaganda pushing hasty decisions without evidence! Positive counts climb, mortality rates stagnate &/or fall across the world; exactly what we hoped to see! When will it be “safe enough” to live? “Flatten the Curve” is over. Our economy got crushed; don’t let children’s education suffer! Positive cases alone mean nothing. Closing solely on positive counts is foolishness. If you seek “complete safety” to re-open, we never will. Jackson County health officials’ recommendations seem to follow political science more than observational reality, and appears BOE is bowing down.

CDC & American Association of Pediatrics inform sending children back to school is right. Do any national officials point to Jackson County for COVID-19 recommendations? (Laughter eases political tension) But it’s not funny other children return to school while LSR7 waits for BOE to find appropriate amounts of courage. BOE policy cannot flip-flop, as a leaf blown about in political winds. Should LSR7 follow vague suggestions, while other districts open? I hope BOE doesn’t answer with “we base decisions on money we lose by failing to comply with county recommendations”. Traps are baited similarly. BOE can’t cater to county politics, or community fears and feelings, while trying to successfully manage academic excellence for children. Focus on the mission. There’s bigger issues money can’t fix: You can’t buy back lost time for students.

We play nice to make others “feel safe”; wear masks, social distance. Easy stuff, slightly annoying. Closing school isn’t simply inconvenient. Enough is enough! BOE shouldn’t waiver while others play politics with families! Start the semester on time, with proposed hybrid in-person learning programs. Inconsistency confuses, causing anxiety to parents who enrolled & stand unwaivering.

I believe the most important time in children’s educational growth and development occurs in K-12. Parents who aren’t trained in homeschooling are under-prepared to offer productive education. Virtual learning is a poor alternative. BOE determines student experiences in 2020, equaling 8% of educational years. Almost a full letter grade. Don’t experiment with children & flunk this test. Stick to the program. Don’t deviate from parents’ choices!

The key factor parents site in choosing where to raise families are historically successful schools. Put students first, & BOE issues a clarion call to opportunity-seeking families: LS stands for truth & children’s excellence! Don’t let county officials play political hardball & dictate to LSR7. This isn’t about money. Take the high road! Stand for long-term children’s success over short-term funding; for children and families, against confusion and fear!

Bottom line, summer’s over, flip-flopping is done.

We elected & entrust you to operate LSR-7. Open our schools!

My family thanks you and your support in this decisively important issue!

In support of good stewardship,
Matthew Archer
Lifetime resident, father of 3 LSR-7 students